peteb2 Registered User
#1

My 10 week old lab retriever is obsessed with eating stones in the back garden. Its impossible to remove them completely. She is well excercised and entertained with plenty of other things to chew on. But once she's out the back its just straight onto the stones.

Any suggestions?

BohsCeltic Registered User
#2

Mine is the same, she is 10 months old now though so has moved onto rocks. I have tried to remove everything but she always digs up something. She's a collie/lab cross and gets plenty of exercise, has plenty of toys and has a jack russell as a companion.
It's getting to the stage now where i am going to have to get fencing in as the back garden resembles the aftermath of a war zone.

I'd suggest going outside with her if she is a house dog and when she picks up a stone try to get her attention with a toy and pick up the stone. At that age pups will tend to eat/chew anything so she should grow out of it (i know, that didn't happen with mine though)

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rorrissey Registered User
#3

You could try to make a homemade chewing repellent, I think I read somewhere that dogs hate citrus tastes? Maybe spray some lemon juice on the rocks?

Or maybe put a muzzle on her when she's out there unsupervised so she can't eat them?

Zara23 Registered User
#4

Labs are notorious for rummaging and eating things they shouldn't. This sounds like a case of pica to me, which is a craving for non-food items and is behavioral.
You can try discouraging him by putting some cayenne pepper on the rocks outside and this will be a start.
But you can't put pepper on every rock! So you will have to train him to leave the stones. Start off slowly and train him as you would for the 'sit' command. Teach him to 'leave' the stones and use positive reinforcement such as a treat whenever he chooses a toy over a stone.
A distraction is also useful in the early stages of training. You could use what is called 'remote punishment' which involves using an unpleasant distraction when he is going for the stones, but he must not associate the punishment with you. The punishment should never be painful, more surprising and unpleasant. Examples are squirting with a water pistol, stones in a can that you can shake, or there are remote collars that can spray an unpleasant scent. Remember that he cant see you do it, or he will only not go for the stones when you are around. You want him to think the behaviour is causing the consequence, not you.

Sigma Force Registered User
#5

Our Papillon was like that when he was a young pup he would try to eat anything and everything including bits of gravel. We just had to try and keep him away from stoney places but walking him was a nightmare he'd pick up every bit of crap that was chucked on the street..it's only when you have a small pup you realise how dirty the public footpaths are.

He should grow out of it, teaching him the 'leave it' command should help. At that age they are so babyish it takes them a while to get the hang of learning new stuff but labs are pretty bright maybe if you can see if you can get him in to puppy classes (that use humane methods of training) it helps take the stress out of dealing with their naughty antics.

peteb2 Registered User
#6

Ha ha. Teach her leave it?? I will see how that one goes.

Thanks guys

BohsCeltic Registered User
#7

peteb2 said:
Ha ha. Teach her leave it?? I will see how that one goes.

Thanks guys


Try it in he house first with things like treats and toys then use the same command when she picks up a stone. Reward her when she leaves it. Dogs are clever and will soon cop on.

yellowcrayon Registered User
#8

My golden retriever done this for years and our vet told us that she was just doin it to sharpen her teeth. She'd grind the stones; but never swallow.

Zapperzy Registered User
#9

yellowcrayon said:
My golden retriever done this for years and our vet told us that she was just doin it to sharpen her teeth. She'd grind the stones; but never swallow.


I'm sorry but that is complete bs. Stones actually wear down a dog's teeth, and can fracture the teeth resulting in quite a lot of pain and an extraction.

yellowcrayon Registered User
#10

Well Zapperzy, Im just giving the opinion my vet gave to us, whether you think its bs or not.

Zapperzy Registered User
#11

yellowcrayon said:
Well Zapperzy, Im just giving the opinion my vet gave to us, whether you think its bs or not.


It wasn't aimed towards you it was aimed towards your vet. I'm a student vet nurse and yes what your vet said is bs, dogs can actually fracture their teeth chewing on stones leaving the pulp inside exposed and very very painful, they can also seriously wear down their teeth. But they never sharpen their teeth.

thrilledskinny Registered User
#12

MY partners 11 yr old lab/collie cross has chewed/mauled stones for years...and hence she has (nearly) not a tooth left in her head !!
I'd say defo encourage her not to do it, like the reward if she drops it/leaves it....
and surprise surprise two new young dogs that i have now copy the older dog...its like once one chews a stone they all want one.....the little fella was only just chewing a hard piece of concrete earlier on the couch !!

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